Sunday, March 31, 2013

A lost generation

Good Friday, the thought of Easter dinner with mother and her self-righteous Upper East Side friends a violent tidal wave over the embankments in my mind. I gathered the strength I needed and escaped to Venice and Stephanie, she wanted to see me and I her.

I last came here when Chloe tried to cure the unhealthy Ernest Hemingway obsession she had developed after reading The Sun Also Rises one particularly hot summer. I don't remember much, one of the downsides to getting drunk on Bellinis every night for an entire week (also, it eventually shows up on mother's credit card bill). Chloe recovered and now prefers French literature to American. 

I guess I should have told her I was going back but I didn't know how. Instead I left a short note on her pillow, by now she will have read it and this time we're not a wasteland but an ocean apart.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3 000

When I was little I used to love chasing butterflies across the meadows surrounding our summer house. I wanted to keep and own them until my father explained to me that I couldn't. "If you touch the wings of a butterfly", he said, "it will never get off the ground again". The sudden guilt felt almost claustrophobic, he took my little hand in his and everything was quiet around us and the sun was setting behind the woods. "Remember", he said, "there are always going to be people that want to bring you down".

I write for selfish reasons. I write because I have to, because if I didn't I wouldn't be able to make sense of anything in this world. I need to know that there is somewhere I can go when that claustrophobia creeps up on me again, threatening to pull my wings off and destroy those dreams I have about flying. I need to know that I'm not alone and sometimes I feel as if I'm screaming into the dark and there's no one there to answer, but deep down I know that you are, all of you.

This is a monologue and I'm thankful that you're still listening. For how long have you done that? When did you first find me and what would you ask me if you got just one question?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sound and Vision

The cold here gets under my clothes, I'm talking to Henry about summer under the lights when he says it in passing like it's of no apparent significance: "I won't be here then". In the dark and the music and the blur that surrounds us the distinction in his voice pierces through me like a January wind.

Later he undresses me on my bed in the dark (mother awake on the other side of the wall) but it feels as if he's carefully peeling my skin off and all that's left underneath is the cold and the winter.

He touches me with the lights turned off, I'm under the sheets and the letter I wrote but never sent is only inches away in the night stand drawer. My unspoken words like radio waves in the air, I have to bite my lip to keep from telling him and he notices. We stop breathing together, 5th Avenue an alarm outside my window. It's like he's already gone and I'm soundlessly whispering into thin air: "I love you".

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shamrock chicks

I don't wear green, I don't own a single green piece of clothing. To me Saint Patrick's Day is nothing but leprechaun Armageddon, an NC-17 version of Christmas minus the presents. Chloe is moderately more liberal, on Sunday she begs me to go out with her and accepts my condition that she has to wear something green. "I do" she says, "you just can't see it".

She quickly disappears into a fog of people somewhere in Tribecca, I end up in a hotel bar drinking Crème de Menthe untill it seems safe to go out again. When she comes back on Monday morning, just before work, she is a few ounces lighter than the night before, her hair like a bird's nest in the early light. "He liked the green I was wearing" she says, holding on to her skirt. "So much so that he kept them as a souvenir."

Friday, March 15, 2013


They say it's only a matter of time before Los Angeles is hit by an earthquake so powerful it will annihilate the entire city. My father never wanted to live there, he said it felt like swimming under water when the entire surface is frozen and covered with ice. When he talked to me about that constant threat and the silence afterwards I should have known he was talking about himself.

If Los Angeles is the earthquake then Carl must be the aftershock, the sound that breaks the silence and lets you know you're still alive. Chloe moved here to get away from him, for me he's the only reason why I would ever consider going back.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Silence of the lambs

Henry's little Brooklyn apartment is a magnet on Saturday nights, I'm drawn to it like a moth to the light. Walking across the bridge in the darkness and my alcoholic haze is like tumbling down the rabbit hole not knowing what to find on the other side. I woke up early this morning and watched the sunlight play games on his skin for hours, I never have that patience outside of his bedroom.

He's started asking questions about my family. "That picture of your grandfather", he said today, "you told me he looks frightened". I nodded. "What was his name?" I froze, the answer hit me like thunder: I don't know. I never asked and mother never told me. Henry looked at me while I struggled to come up with a Russian name and I think I said "Dimitri".

On Friday, Chloe and I played the game "if someone congratulates you on Women's Day you have to sleep with them" at some hipster bar in the Meatpacking District. Chloe lost.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

As if nothing really matters

I've never known a genuinely happy person but I think I know what they're missing: that void that the rest of us carry around in our hearts. I know Chloe has one, it's what we're trying to fill with those various tastes of cigarette smoke, alcohol and chimerical romances until we forget why we even started trying.

Every time mother disappears that void gets a little smaller, the space temporarily occupied by an ache that won't go away. I'm worried because the last thing I said to her was always trivial or even cruel, and if something was to happen to her I would never forgive myself.

I came home today and there it was, flowing through the air like radiation, the sound of her Claire de Lune on the stereo. She lies stretched out in her Corbusier sofa, the spotless Prada pumps placed neatly on the Persian rug just under her. The void in my heart implodes but I know I'll soon forget what it felt like. The next time she's gone I will have said something trivial and that ache will keep me worried until she comes back home.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The trick is to keep breathing

Sunday night, Chloe mourns another weekend lost in opium fumes and rye whiskey. To me it makes no difference, waking up to the 5th Avenue requiem is always the same.

I dream about Henry when we're not together. "Are you happy" he asked me once in the blackout after a storm, looking away from me and into the fire, my shivering hand in his. When mother asks me I always lie and say yes, with him I can be honest because I know it doesn't scare him. Nothing does.

Happiness is fragile, like butterfly wings, it never lasts longer than it takes to remember time slipping through your fingers like California sand. Memento mori. It used to be different back when everything seemed endless and he was still there by my side to protect me from the pain, my father. I only manage to go on without him now because of those sudden flashes from the past when I'm reminded of something I thought I had lost, the recovered memory of something forgotten, of what it felt like to be truly and uninhibitedly happy.